Bradley Company released its annual “State of the Market” report April 2, finding that downtown office space is hot, thanks to projects like Electric Works.

“Fort Wayne’s strong economy has a significant impact on the commercial real estate market,” Martin Huttenlocker, vice president of Bradley Company, said in a statement. “The continued growth of downtown, along with the scarcity of industrial properties and the emergence of unique retail and restaurants, has the potential to continue these positive trends in 2019.”

The report looks at the diverse commercial real estate markets throughout Indiana and western Michigan, including Fort Wayne.

The report focuses on the office, industrial and retail sectors, and previews market opportunities in 2019. Among the highlights in Fort Wayne and Warsaw are:

● Downtown Fort Wayne’s office market is on the rise. The focus on attracting corporate headquarters downtown has spurred developments like Electric Works and Riverfront Fort Wayne. It also has contributed to a drop in the downtown office vacancy rate from 8.9 percent in 2016 to 6.5 percent at the end of Q4 2018. While these transitions have created vacancies in the suburban market, new and expanding companies are quickly filling these openings.

● Demand for available industrial space exceeds supply. A number of sizable leases in 2018 contributed to the vacancy rate declining by 200 basis points to 5.9 percent. With less space available, several speculative developments are underway in Fort Wayne, the largest being a 150,000-square-foot project that is expandable to 240,000 square feet.

In Warsaw, the Certified Tech Park development reflects the rejuvenation of the industrial/manufacturing industry with the anticipated opening of a new 57,000-square-foot shell building in 2Q 2019. Bradley expects these developments to help alleviate the unbalanced supply and demand in the market.

● E-commerce continues to revolutionize retail, bringing new opportunities for big-box spaces. As consumer preferences evolve from purchasing goods to experiences, Fort Wayne’s retail sector is mirroring this national trend with the development of the Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center.

Several big-box (more than 20,000-square-foot) spaces remain vacant in the market, but tenants are repurposing these spaces into several smaller spaces, bringing the vacancy rate down 180 points in 2018 to 10.5 percent.

Article published by Lisa Esquivel Long of Fort Wayne Business Weekly at